BBB National Programs Archive
NAD Recommends EuroMedica, Inc., Discontinue Certain Claims for its ‘PhosphOmega-3’ Dietary Supplement
New York, NY – July 17, 2012 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that EuroMedica, Inc., modify or discontinue certain advertising claims for the company’s PhosphOmega-3 dietary supplements, including claims related to its bioavailability, absorption and also sustainable fishing. However, NAD found the advertiser could support a claim that referenced the product’s stability.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. As a part of its ongoing monitoring program and in conjunction with NAD’s initiative with the Council for Responsible Nutrition designed to expand review of advertising claims for dietary supplements, NAD requested the advertiser provide substantiation for claims made in print and Internet advertising.
NAD’s review focused primarily on the phospholipid structure of the advertiser’s product. As the advertiser explained, the product is not fish oil, but rather a complex extract from salmon brain tissue that includes two omega-3 fatty acids naturally attached to phospholipids and specific hydrolyzed salmon protein bioactive peptides in tablet delivery form. Given the nature of the product, the advertiser argued, it should not be evaluated using standard fish-oil models that commonly contain omega-3 fatty acids in triglyceride form.
The absorption and bioavailability of omega-3 fatty acids in phospholipid form is an emerging science. Key to NAD’s determinations was the depth and quality of the research provided by the advertiser as support for claims that included:
• “In a recent clinical trial, subjects using PhosphOmega-3 experienced significant support in healthy total cholesterol, triglycerides and HDL levels. In addition, they reported significant improvement in several factors including improvement in concentration, mental vigor, quality of sleep, visual fatigue, long term and short term memory and physical recovery.”
• “Naturally bound to phospholipids, PhosphOmega-3 has up to 50 times greater absorption than fish oil.* *Comparative in-vitro study of the intestinal permeability and bioaccumulation of omega-3 fatty acids in PhosphOmega-3® using the CACO-2 epithelial intestinal model. Rennes, France.”
• “Scientific research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids bound to phospholipids have greatly enhanced bioavailability and stability than fatty acids on triglyceride carriers such as fish oil.”
• “PhosphOmega-3 is 100% sustainable and derived from 100% pure North Atlantic salmon.”
• “Its patented extraction process uses no heat, chemicals or solvents.”
• “Each batch of PhosphOmega-3 is tested and passes both US and European standards for purity; EuroMedica uses the highest sensitivity tests available to assure your patients’ health
NAD noted in its decision certain concerns with the methodologies of tests offered by the advertiser as support for claims that referenced clinical trials, or the absorption or bioavailability of the supplement and recommended the advertiser discontinue such claims.
NAD determined that the advertiser had provided a reasonable basis for its claims that “scientific research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids bound to phospholipids have greatly enhanced … stability than fatty acids on triglyceride carriers such as fish oil.”
NAD determined that the claim “PhosphOmega-3 is 100% sustainable and derived from 100% pure North Atlantic salmon” is an express environmental marketing claim.
As such, NAD noted, consumers concerned with sustainable fishing practices might reasonably expect the advertiser’s sustainability claim to be supported with measures aimed at preventing over-fishing, assuring repopulation and minimizing habitat damage.
The advertiser’s “assertions that there is no depletion of wild salmon populations and the fillets of the salmon are used in the food industry after the head tissues are processed into raw material is insufficient to support the advertiser’s sustainability claim,” NAD stated. NAD recommended the advertiser discontinue claims that “PhosphOmega-3 is 100% sustainable and derived from 100% pure North Atlantic salmon.”
Further, NAD recommended the advertiser modify claims that its patented extraction process, which requires the use of steam, uses “no heat.”
The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it regrets that “NAD was unable to appreciate the distinct differences which distinguish this unique phospholipid omega-3 product from typical triglyceride fish oils. However, while respectfully disagreeing with NAD on many points, we have reviewed NAD’s decision carefully and will take your recommendations into account for future advertising claims for this product. We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to truthful and accurate advertising.”